We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in the centre of Cologne and had left early to have sufficient time for last minute checks at our exhibition stand. All was good but we were not prepared for what happened next.
As soon as the hall doors opened, people came streaming in and the isles were soon filled with visitors. Not long after the space in front of our stand became very crowded and our processor was very admired. Word began to circulate in hall 12, “have you seen the Australian wonder machine?” which in turn brought more people along. After the initial excitement had calmed down, we could start talking to people and discussing their various requirements. Many people voiced their concerns that Australia was too far away, and they could not get support when needed and it was exceedingly difficult to overcome this problem. However, we were able to write many enquiries in our order book during the seven days and the follow-up work would be extensive. Apparently, it was already decided that I would be responsible for most of this work and the motion picture industry was mine to look after. Not that I was unhappy about this at all. I met one potential customer from Brazil who wanted to re-equip his laboratory in Sao Paulo. The discussions went on for month after Photokina had finished, but unfortunately came to nothing. I met however their engineer who should become important to us many years later.
On the evening of the first day we received a phone call confirming that our processor had been sold to a laboratory in Hong Kong. This called for a celebration and we moved on to a famous Cologne restaurant “Frueh am Dom” which was, as the name said, located next to the Cologne Cathedral. They served a speciality beer of the region which was called Altbier. This beer is not particularly strong but when you are very exhausted it has its effect. One of our party, no names here, was so exhausted that he fell asleep at the table and began snoring very loudly. After a few moments, the other guests became aware of this and fell totally quiet. This must have disturbed the sleep of our friend and he woke up. As soon as he was awake all the guests started applauding. Fortunately, our colleague had a good sense of humour and joined in the laughter all around.
After we left the restaurant an unforgettable experience awaited us. The Cologne Cathedral was lit up and looked almost spiritual and unreal. It was certainly a sight which will stay in my mind forever. The Allied Forces in World War II were instructed not to bomb the church and fortunately kept to that.
After seven phenomenally successful days the exhibition closed, and some final work had to be done. We dismantled and crated the processor and other exhibition items. I discussed with the freight and customs agent to rearrange the return of the machine to Hong Kong instead of Sydney.
I had some friends in Munich who invited us to a visit of the Octoberfest. Everybody was keen for this experience and so we flew off to Munich. The Octoberfest was a great experience and all I can say is that many a stein of the excellent Munich beer was had. After we had some fun our production manager and I flew to Hong Kong to prepare for the installation of the processor.